The Sneakers theme

30 11 2013

Are you watching Leverage?

You should be watching Leverage. Good actors, good characters, good dialogue, good humor, good-hearted (if sometimes sketchy, somewhat schematic) plots.

And capers! It’s a caper show! Yay capers!

Streaming on Netflix. G’watchit.

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I think I have to send you a reminder

30 11 2013

I learned something today.

That t-shirt that guy was wearing at the gym? The one that said WOMEN LIE on the front, NUMBERS DON’T on the back?

Apparently those are lyrics from a Jay-Z song—although the complete line is “Men lie women lie, numbers don’t.”

Which may get Mr. Carter off the hook, but not the stupid bastard who made the t-shirt, or the stupid bastard who was wearing it.

He was a big guy; I gave him the stink-eye.

But I’m sure it was just meant to be funny. So, so funny.

~~~

I was grumpy the other night reading TNC’s post on Alec Baldwin’s bigotry, noting that

We’re all condemning him for what he says about gay men, but not so much that large chunks of what he finds so awful about gay men is that they act like “little girls” and “bitches”.

Like females. How degrading for a man to be feminine. What a great insult to a man to be called woman.

Can we note the great insult to women? Can we call that bigotry, too?

TNC, to his credit, has written about sexism from any number of angles, noted it in the original post, and re-emphasized the connections between anti-gay and anti-women sentiment in response to my comment, so I’m not calling him out. He’s doing the work.

But it’s still worth noting that a) attacking someone for being gay is bigotry; b) attacking a gay man for acting like a woman is a bigoted thing to say about gay men; c) which makes women the worst thing for a man to be; d) which makes women what, exactly?

~~~

Unlike other forms of bigotry, anti-women bigotry can’t be divorced from intimacy.

Swedes might believe they can live in a better society without Danes and thus try to eliminate all Danes from their state (and the world); their genocide, as terrible as it would be, would not in fact make Swedish life and society impossible. I might argue that it would make Swedish society worse, much worse, but even so, it could continue.

Men who hate women can’t live without them (us), however. Get rid of all of the women and you will, eventually, get rid of all of the men, as well.

And, given that most men are straight, even those who don’t think much of women don’t want to get rid of us entirely: MRAs are not interested in celibacy. So they hate us and they fear us and they want us, and they hate and fear because they want.

Is it easier to confront bigotry which is, somehow, separable? I don’t know exactly how to say this—because I don’t know exactly what I’m trying to say—but it seems as if the lack of choice (at a very basic, sexual, level) in the interaction between men and women makes it far harder to call out sexism as bigotry.

~~~

I’ve never particularly liked the “men-are-so-clueless” types of jokes, whether told by women or men. They strike me as lazy and demeaning, and, worst of all, unfunny.

Women lie/numbers don’t? Not funny.





Hey you

28 11 2013

Happy Thanksgiving.

006

016

I hope your critters are more cooperative than mine.





Baby, baby, please let me hold him

24 11 2013

This makes no damned sense.

No, I’m not talking about ACA/Obamacare criticism—there are legitimate political questions about the size and role of government in the provision of the general welfare—but the notion that maternity care only benefits fertile women:

A “single male, age 32, does not need maternity coverage,” [Representative Renee] Ellmers said. […]

[…] Harvard economist Greg Mankiw, a former Mitt Romney adviser, asserted: “Having children is more a choice than a random act of nature. People who drive a new Porsche pay more for car insurance than those who drive an old Chevy …. Why isn’t having children viewed in the same way?”

[…] “My [Nicole Hopkins, writing in the Wall Street Journal] asked ‘Do I need maternity care at 52?'”

No, men don’t get pregnant, yes, having children is a choice, and no, most 52-year-old women do not need maternity care.

That is all irrelevant, however.

Garance Franke-Ruta concentrates on the empirical realities facing mothers in the US in her analysis of the anti-maternity care argument, but even that analysis is beside the point.

What is the point? Every single goddamned person who is and was ever on the planet was born to a woman, and was cared for by someone else—almost always the woman who gave birth. It is a basic condition of our existence.

There is no human life, no society, no politics, no world, without children being born and raised.

We do not exist without care.

Which is precisely fucking why maternity care affects us all, and ought to matter to us all.  Goddammit all.





Give peace a chance

24 11 2013

A preliminary deal to pause, and eventually reverse, Iran’s nuclear weapons program: good.

Good for the US, good for Iran, good for the world—and yes, when I write “good for the world”, I include Israel in that calculation.

Benjamin Netanyahu, and his various supporters in the US, would disagree. They consider this a “disaster” and, generally, bad for Israel. Former UN Ambassador Wilford Brimley John Bolton goes so far as to urge Israel to bomb away anyway, but as he’d likely suggest bombing someone who cut in front of him at Starbucks, I don’t how seriously anyone should take his analysis.

If the Israelis do bomb Iran (for presumably their own reasons), I don’t know how much cover they could expect from the US. There are many members of Congress who are, as the phrase goes, “staunch allies of Irael”, but I don’t know how staunch the rest of the American populace is. Yes, polls regularly show high levels of support for Israel, but it’s not at all clear that that support would hold if Israel were seen to be drawing the US into yet another Mideast war.

Would such a backlash be driven by anti-semitism? Some of it, yeah—there’s a fair amount of anti-Jewish sentiment in the US—but mostly by a sense of ENOUGH, the same sense of ENOUGH that lead to a backlash against a possible US strike on Syria.

Not going to war is a good thing. Kerry isn’t Chamberlain, Rouhani isn’t Hitler, and the P5+1 group and the UN aren’t the League of Nations. It’s possible this could all go sideways, but it’s also possible that this might, just might, lead us away from war and toward peace.

A good thing, yes?





It was sad, so sad

21 11 2013

Don’t do it, Harry! Don’t do it! You’ll regret it! Why, we might turn around and cram the courts full of Scalias and Thomases and. . .

Wait, what’s that you say? That that’s what we did, anyway? Weelllll, we’ll just. . .

BOOM!

~~~

Dave Weigel has some really nice observations at Slate, noting in particular that

They didn’t demand the change because they’re ignorant about the 2014 polls. If they lose that election, they’ll have given themselves a year to confirm judges and executive nominees. If they lose the presidency in 2016, they’ll have empowered a Republican to put judicial robes on whichever Federalist Society member he wants. But they expected Republicans to break the filibuster anyway. “I know that if there is a Republican president and a Republican majority,” Sen. Merkley said this month, “they will force up-and-down votes, because they demonstrated their commitment to that principle in 2005.”

Merkley’s opponents never really reckoned with his logic. Progressives did not consider filibuster reform a “risk.” They saw a way to kick over an impediment to majority rule, before Republicans took power and kicked it over themselves. They’re trading something that might have brought “consensus” for something that empowers the party that wins elections. And they’re fine with that.

Just so.

And now we see what happens next.





I would not run from the bomb

21 11 2013

Nuke ’em, Harry! Nuke ’em!

I’m referring to the change in Senate rules in which presidential nominees and sub-Supreme Court federal court nominees could be confirmed with a majority vote, i.e., could no longer be filibustered, but it sounds so much more fun to say “NUUUUUKE THEMMMM!”

Even Jonathan Bernstein, who is generally a fan of (kinda) the filibuster, agrees that the Republicans aggressive use of the filibuster has gone out of whack. His tolerance of the filibuster is based in his wariness of majoritarianism, and his belief in the necessity of keeping the minority in the game.

These are important considerations, and I appreciate Bernstein’s tempered historical approach to Senate history. Given that power shifts from Democrats to Republicans and back again with some regularity, not treating the losing party as, well, losers, makes sense: they need to keep a hand in governance.

If that losing party holds no interest in governance, however, and refuses to take any responsibility for the actions of the US government as a whole, then, Bernstein concedes, nuking the minority’s ability to stifle action makes more sense than deferring to it.

I come at this from a different direction, from the necessity of accountability rather than deference. Even when the Republicans were in control of the Senate I supported filibuster reform: if the electorate voted for Republicans, then they (we) ought to deal with the consequences of those elections. If we don’t like those consequences, we should vote differently.

There are problems with this position, of course: this is a policy-first approach, and most people don’t care about policy. As such, my whole notion of weakening or removing the brakes on majority action  might not lead to any greater accountability: if you don’t connect policy to party, then passage of a hated/loved policy won’t necessarily lead to lessened/greater attachment to party.

Still, it’s possible that among the reasons for weak linkage between policy and party attachment (esp. in terms of voting) is that Congressmembers have been able to shrug off responsibility for policy (in)action amidst the thicket of Senate rules. Maybe if we Americans could no longer count on a minority to stifle the majority we would actually have to come to terms with the consequences of our votes.

Maybe not. Maybe Bernstein’s caution is correct. But maybe the best way to figure this out is to  NUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUKE the Senate filibuster rule.